|Run! They want to sell us a house!|
The first of this pair of wild wickiups is known to all as the City Council Meeting Strategic Plan Retreat, and it occurs at 8:30 AM. An hour chosen because of its convenience to working residents. I have heard that hundreds are cashing in personal days at work so that they will be able to attend. Myself not included.
But there is a second meeting of the City Council that day. One that I find to be much more interesting, and kind of hilarious as well. There is no good reason for that hilarity, of course. This stuff is about as dry as the contents of a salt box. It is probably just a personal idiosyncrasy of mine, activated by an as yet unexplained personal aversion to the overly serious. Here is the agenda item for this special happy hour get together in Council Chambers.
SIERRA MADRE CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014
City Hall Council Chambers, 232 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.
1. PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION - Presentation and Discussion regarding Standardized Emergency Management Systems (SEMS), National Incident Management Systems (NIMS), Incident Command System (ICS), an Overview for City Officials.
In case you are SEMS curious, the apparent force behind this meeting is the Department of Homeland Security. You know, basically the same folks that almost sank New Orleans. Done in the hopes of marshaling the defense capabilities of the City of Sierra Madre in case of an invasion by aggressive martians, or angry realtors driving mini electric pedicabs.
This is probably wrong of me to say, but the image of Barney Fife fumbling for his bullet and gun while hundreds of Invasion of the Body Snatchers pod people descend upon innocent latte' drinkers at Starbucks, is now seared deeply into my brain. It could take hours of late night Pabst therapy to erase that. I am willing to try.
Sacramento has a website about all of this, of course (link). Billions of innocent ions were needlessly slaughtered in that effort. This particular missive of near unreadable gibberish is called Standardized Emergency Management System. Or SEMS if you prefer it in an acronymic format. Here is a passage that could have your eyes rolling backwards into your head within seconds.
The Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) is the cornerstone of California’s emergency response system and the fundamental structure for the response phase of emergency management. SEMS is required by the California Emergency Services Act (ESA) for managing multiagency and multijurisdictional responses to emergencies in California. The system unifies all elements of California’s emergency management community into a single integrated system and standardizes key elements. SEMS incorporates the use of the Incident Command System (ICS), California Disaster and Civil Defense Master Mutual Aid Agreement (MMAA), the Operational (OA) Area concept and multiagency or inter-agency coordination. State agencies are required to use SEMS and local government entities must use SEMS in order to be eligible for any reimbursement of response-related costs under the state’s disaster assistance programs.
Obviously should any kind of serious mass scale emergency ever occur we'd all be horribly doomed. Millions would be frozen into a state of paralysis and self-destructive inaction just by trying to figure out the acronyms alone.
So what is the other meeting about?
This dog in the manger is known as the Strategic Planning Retreat. These happen from time to time, though there always seems to be one right after a new City Council is seated. My suspicion is this retreat is designed to sucker any overly independent thinking new Councilmembers into buying into the veiled mysteries of City Hall think. A special sort of perception designed to lead any free thinking types into believing that it is easier to leave all the heavy lifting to them.
Something that is almost always a very costly mistake. There are also lots and lots of retreat questions. Many of which are along the lines of Noah Green's now infamous, "What would you cut?" campaign query.
Again, an unnecessary journey up the River Useless.
Here is the agenda for all of this.
1. Mayor John Harabedian - Welcome, purpose of the retreat, public comment, and introduction of the Facilitator and Recorder
2. Facilitator, Marilyn Snider, Snider and Associates - Role of the Facilitator, Recorder, group, and public; strategic planning elements; agenda
3. Introduction of the group
4. City of Sierra Madre:
- Mission/Purpose Statement
- Vision Statement
- Core Values
- Three-Year Goals (2012-2015)
5. What are the strengths and major accomplishments of the City of Sierra Madre since the October 15, 2013 Strategic Planning Retreat?
6. What are the City’s current internal weaknesses/challenges?
7. What are the external factors/trends, (e.g., demographic, economic, political, environmental, technological, attitudinal) that will/might have an impact on the City of Sierra Madre in the coming year?:
• Positively (Opportunities)?
• Negatively (Threats)?
8. Review and revise, if needed, the three-year goals (What the City of Sierra Madre needs to accomplish).
9. Identify six-month strategic objectives (how the goals will be addressed initially – by when, who will be accountable, for what specific, measurable results) for each of the three-year goals.
10. Oral communications, summary of the Retreat and closing remarks.
I don't know. This could be one of those occasions where you might be better off going to work instead. Or perhaps finally getting serious about origami.
Besides, weren't most of these questions answered by the voters when they deep-sixed Measure UUT?